This is a five-part mystery:

  1. The mystery
  2. The call
  3. The investigation
  4. The solution
  5. The Happy Ending

   It happened again.  Mr. F.O. Under, the CEO, was beside himself. 

   Business results for the year had just come in.  All of the forecasts from the leaders of his business were pointing to an all-time record.  Instead, just like last year, and the year before that, final year-end adjustments made the final numbers a big disappointment. 

   But why?

   He had hired the best people he could find to lead his businesses.  They all appeared to be people of the highest integrity.  So, he didn’t think they were intentionally misleading him.

   He had invested heavily in new equipment for his manufacturing sites.  They should have been producing the highest quality products in the industry.

   He spared no expense training and preparing the people of the company to be productive, compassionate, and team-oriented.  And yet, his conversations with other CEOs led Mr. Under to believe that his company was no better than others in the industry.

   Marge In, the president of the marketing and sales division had recently conducted an in-depth market analysis.  Ms. In’s findings were unsettling.

   The company’s products were priced higher than the competition’s.  Worse, during a series of customer surveys, it was blindingly clear that the company’s products lagged the competition in basic quality.

   Mr. Under couldn’t understand these survey results.  His company had done what every other company in the industry had done.  Non-critical components and some assembly was outsourced to low-cost countries.   The head of his purchasing department, P.R. Chase, had done a great job of forcing suppliers to reduce their part costs every year for the last five years.  Everybody was working so hard to make the company successful.  Any yet….

   Mr. Under decided that the year-end meeting would focus on what to do to change the company’s financial trajectory.  Not that he had much hope of finding the answer.  He had held this meeting several times now.  But, something had to change.




Stay tuned for  Part 2 – The call

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